Ammonia in INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS

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allsite

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First off, I'll just say I'm one sad fish dad. One by one my fish and corals are dying. It's my first reef and my 5 fish were buddies for 2 years. Not a single death until this week.

INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS crashed my reef with ammonia. I didn't believe it at first but the tests feel conclusive.

The picture with 2 tubes:
Left: RODI+salt mix (from a pitcher of water with a drop of AmmoLock)
Right: RODI+salt mix

The picture with 1 tube:
Just RODI

Is it in my bucket? Nope, I tested it with a clean pitcher, exact same result. Nothing else touches the water prior to testing.

I have 2 boxes of mix that were ordered several months apart. One brand new, the other about 4 months old. They BOTH produced the same result (as seen in the pic).

All of the tests were done to water that was tank-ready, salinity and temp on par. I'm happy I didn't dump it into the tank but that also mean I'm just letting it die until I get new salt first thing tomorrow. I really hope AmmoLock and bacteria additives can save what little is left (1 clown and a few frags).

My tank is currently testing better than the right tube and worse than the left (forgot to take a photo but it's somewhat irrelevant in this thread).

My question is, how is it possible INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS could produce 0.7ppm ammonia seawater? They're just selling poison? Is that not the point when doing a water change, to remove bad stuff while introducing good stuff?

It was traumatic to watch it crash after enjoying it to the max, stuck in a small apartment downtown during a pandemic. However I realize other reefers have incurred much bigger losses and my heart goes out to anyone who has to go through it.

168426979_3789554974446868_3184096659993372410_n.png 169469175_943549413142283_754375814307983494_n.png
 

NeonRabbit221B

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I just want to point out that different aquariums will be able to house different amounts of nitrifiers. That was the whole point of the '1-1.5lb live rock per gallon rule' once upon a time. With effective biomedia on the market, things have changed but what stays consistent is that each aquarium can only handle a certain amount of ammonia.

And whatever amount of ammonia op measured, could already be after the amount that the nitrifiers have been taking care of. Nitrification is not instant, and if the max capacity is 2ppm per day, then that is 0.5ppm per six hours. If for example there was 1ppm ammonia to start with from the water change (let's ignore any sort of feeding or other sources of ammonia for now), then it still takes six hours for that to be reduced to 0.5ppm. During that entire six hours the fish would still be subjected to between 0.5 to 1ppm ammonia. Which ain't great.

And then if deaths really start, and ammonia was already pretty high, it can snowball. Sure, in some aquariums cuc takes care of the death and so on. In others, one dead animal snowballs into a lot of deaths.

Not saying this is absolutely the case for op, but is just something that should be considered when discussing the removal of ammonia.
This is my understanding of the events. Looking at the aquascape it is very minimal compared to others I have seen so the relative ammonia in the salt at a 70% water change could start that snow ball rolling. My 40 breeder has roughly 2-2.5 lbs per gallon so his salt likely wouldn't make my reef skip a beat.
 
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Kershaw

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I just want to point out that different aquariums will be able to house different amounts of nitrifiers. That was the whole point of the '1-1.5lb live rock per gallon rule' once upon a time. With effective biomedia on the market, things have changed but what stays consistent is that each aquarium can only handle a certain amount of ammonia.
And whatever amount of ammonia op measured, could already be after the amount that the nitrifiers have been taking care of. Nitrification is not instant, and if the max capacity is 2ppm per day, then that is 0.5ppm per six hours. If for example there was 1ppm ammonia to start with from the water change (let's ignore any sort of feeding or other sources of ammonia for now), then it still takes six hours for that to be reduced to 0.5ppm. During that entire six hours the fish would still be subjected to between 0.5 to 1ppm ammonia. Which ain't great.

And then if deaths really start, and ammonia was already pretty high, it can snowball. Sure, in some aquariums cuc takes care of the death and so on. In others, one dead animal snowballs into a lot of deaths.

Not saying this is absolutely the case for op, but is just something that should be considered when discussing the removal of ammonia.
i don’t disagree and don’t want to argue with anyone. It’s the inverts being relatively ok that confuses me.
 
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Beau_B

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I’m more inclined to think bacterial bloom of some fashion. Disturbed sand/rock... maybe (doubtful) some added ammonia... new sunlight... increased temp. Could have caused a spike, O2 dropped or a “bad” bacteria started attacking the fish.

The new water still can’t be causing 4.0 reading... magical concentration isn’t a thing.
 
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Thespammailaccount

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First off, I'll just say I'm one sad fish dad. One by one my fish and corals are dying. It's my first reef and my 5 fish were buddies for 2 years. Not a single death until this week.

INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS crashed my reef with ammonia. I didn't believe it at first but the tests feel conclusive.

The picture with 2 tubes:
Left: RODI+salt mix (from a pitcher of water with a drop of AmmoLock)
Right: RODI+salt mix

The picture with 1 tube:
Just RODI

Is it in my bucket? Nope, I tested it with a clean pitcher, exact same result. Nothing else touches the water prior to testing.

I have 2 boxes of mix that were ordered several months apart. One brand new, the other about 4 months old. They BOTH produced the same result (as seen in the pic).

All of the tests were done to water that was tank-ready, salinity and temp on par. I'm happy I didn't dump it into the tank but that also mean I'm just letting it die until I get new salt first thing tomorrow. I really hope AmmoLock and bacteria additives can save what little is left (1 clown and a few frags).

My tank is currently testing better than the right tube and worse than the left (forgot to take a photo but it's somewhat irrelevant in this thread).

My question is, how is it possible INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS could produce 0.7ppm ammonia seawater? They're just selling poison? Is that not the point when doing a water change, to remove bad stuff while introducing good stuff?

It was traumatic to watch it crash after enjoying it to the max, stuck in a small apartment downtown during a pandemic. However I realize other reefers have incurred much bigger losses and my heart goes out to anyone who has to go through it.

168426979_3789554974446868_3184096659993372410_n.png 169469175_943549413142283_754375814307983494_n.png
I was reading this initial post and was thinking did you test the rodi alone since the ammonia could be due to chloramines but you tested that
Do you have any idea of what ppm would be considered normal?
my salt mix test zero ammonia when I test
 
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reefinatl

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Everyone is focused this whole stupid battle of if the tank could process ammonia and missing everything else. There is a minimal amount of rock in a fairly small tank with a decent bioload. SOMETHING happened, be it bad salt or temp spike, stuff started dying and ammonia absolutely did spike. Now there are a bunch of dead fish.

I completely disagree that if there was ammonia the snail would've 100% died. Years ago I did the mistake that many of us have done while doing a DIY Sump and used anti-fungal-mold silicone. That pretty much nuked everything and shockingly my ammonia spiked up too. What survived was one clown and a couple of snails. Now most of the snails died, as did my other clown and other inverts. Now if ammonia and contaminants spike hard enough to knock out otherwise healthy clownfish then in a world of absolutes nothing "less hardy" than a clown should survive. Guess what though, it the real world things don't work that way. Random biological mutations, blind luck, and heck maybe even pure will power and drive to survive, all have an impact.

To state unequivocally that all reefs can survive or not survive the same thing is asinine. LD50 is a thing for this reason. There is randomness in these little kingdoms that we assemble that is not able to be modeled.

Maybe it comes down to the specific strains of bacteria, how fast the ramp up is, what the precise temperature is. Maybe the ammonia hits LD50 and on that roll of dice not enough things die to push the system over the edge and recovers, maybe on the next roll though enough snails die to ramp it up.

In short the salt probably didn't nuke the tank. It was probably on edge with so little rock that something else happened and off to the races it all went. Maybe it was the new air freshener you bought, maybe it was a temperature spike when you weren't paying attention. Things happen all the time in this hobby and arguing those things cant cause sustained ammonia spikes is just silly.

/Rant
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I'd still be really interested in the ph as well. My theory is if you have ammonia in your mix then ph may be much lower as well. Would be a double whammy that could easily wipe out your fish. Just my no patterned hunch though.

Why would ammonia and pH be connected in this way?

FWIW, low pH (if true for some reason) will help protect against ammonia poisoning.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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First off, I'll just say I'm one sad fish dad. One by one my fish and corals are dying. It's my first reef and my 5 fish were buddies for 2 years. Not a single death until this week.

INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS crashed my reef with ammonia. I didn't believe it at first but the tests feel conclusive.

The picture with 2 tubes:
Left: RODI+salt mix (from a pitcher of water with a drop of AmmoLock)
Right: RODI+salt mix

The picture with 1 tube:
Just RODI

Is it in my bucket? Nope, I tested it with a clean pitcher, exact same result. Nothing else touches the water prior to testing.

I have 2 boxes of mix that were ordered several months apart. One brand new, the other about 4 months old. They BOTH produced the same result (as seen in the pic).

All of the tests were done to water that was tank-ready, salinity and temp on par. I'm happy I didn't dump it into the tank but that also mean I'm just letting it die until I get new salt first thing tomorrow. I really hope AmmoLock and bacteria additives can save what little is left (1 clown and a few frags).

My tank is currently testing better than the right tube and worse than the left (forgot to take a photo but it's somewhat irrelevant in this thread).

My question is, how is it possible INSTANT OCEAN REEF CRYSTALS could produce 0.7ppm ammonia seawater? They're just selling poison? Is that not the point when doing a water change, to remove bad stuff while introducing good stuff?

It was traumatic to watch it crash after enjoying it to the max, stuck in a small apartment downtown during a pandemic. However I realize other reefers have incurred much bigger losses and my heart goes out to anyone who has to go through it.

168426979_3789554974446868_3184096659993372410_n.png 169469175_943549413142283_754375814307983494_n.png

It is normal for salt mixes to have some ammonia (up to about 0.2 ppm), but the color shown is unusually high.

Was the RO/DI literally the same batch of RO/DI that made the salt mix? Not collected before or after?

Ammonia can be very high in RO/DI when the DI first begins to deplete. Much higher than the incoming tap water. Ammonia may then actually drop again as the DI filled with ammonia gets washed clean.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Reefinatl

How did the snail keep surviving all these fish destroying insults

do soft corals normally hang on through that too, the ones open in the pics back a few pages after you guys asked for them to check for big picture details?



curious about frequency you encounter this condition
lets see something you've assessed prior on the matter, a reef tank that couldn't handle free ammonia and cuc lived while fish died, how that was measured etc



Your concern over too little surface area I thought was reasonable. the only reason am detracting is from the practice of removing surface area in hundreds of tanks in our rip clean threads, we can spot the ones where there's risk, they aren't using rock. I didn't think my experience would sway you, so was asking more for your own experience to be shown in something readable.

what ive linked so far are jobs with other tanks, claiming free ammonia, and we keep updates going after the job is done- to check for outcome patterns.

Ive seen messing around with two year old sand kill reefs, fish, but not lack of surface area.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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His CUC didn't live so saying "all of the inverts are fine" is misleading. He has 3 back to back posts about having to remove dead snails and hermits. 1 snail is not a CUC.

This isn't a bioload question, its a question on the addition of ammonia via bad salt or something else entirely.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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the other day in one of the sand disturbance threads / all fish died when sand was cast about the tank / I forget who it was offered the option that ammonia may not be the issue and instead some other collective bac poison from the sand. They didn't think it was sulfide/no smell reported but having bacteria and their associated compounds in various states within a sandbed or adhered up under cruddy live rock wouldn't be impossible, and those factors are much less well studied than inherent ammonia control tank to tank.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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for dueling trainwreck ammonia assessment posts, we can consider that one as well. an entire tank of fish died only when sand was disturbed, then for ten pages we argue about how casting old sand across a reef tank can or can't kill it.

to this day nobody ever started a new tank transfer thread, to test claims.
 
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HomebroodExotics

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Why would ammonia and pH be connected in this way?

FWIW, low pH (if true for some reason) will help protect against ammonia poisoning.
I know every time I've experienced high ammonia events it throws my ph way low. Probably some chemistry stuff right.

You right on the low ph protecting. I got mixed up and thought it was the other way around but a big ph swing would still not be fun for any fish. Which was my thought.
 
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reefinatl

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Reefinatl

How did the snail keep surviving all these fish destroying insults

do soft corals normally hang on through that too, the ones open in the pics back a few pages after you guys asked for them to check for big picture details?



curious about frequency you encounter this condition
lets see something you've assessed prior on the matter, a reef tank that couldn't handle free ammonia and cuc lived while fish died, how that was measured etc



Your concern over too little surface area I thought was reasonable. the only reason am detracting is from the practice of removing surface area in hundreds of tanks in our rip clean threads, we can spot the ones where there's risk, they aren't using rock. I didn't think my experience would sway you, so was asking more for your own experience to be shown in something readable.

what ive linked so far are jobs with other tanks, claiming free ammonia, and we keep updates going after the job is done- to check for outcome patterns.

Ive seen messing around with two year old sand kill reefs, fish, but not lack of surface area.

You completely missed the point. A scientific dose of ammonia is a different thing than a die off event causing an ammonia event in an active reef environment. Simply stating because some snails survive but fish died is not at all evidence one way or the other of the presence of ammonia. There is a level of randomness and uncertainty that cannot be replicated in most cases of reef crashes. Not every single of organism of an entire species dies precisely at X dose of a toxin.

I just cycled 45lbs of live rock that maxed somewhere north of 2ppm, maxed the red sea kit, and took about 8 days or so to settle out. I had gorgonians, sponges, snails, worms, limpets, lps corals, 2 mantis shrimp, and brittle stars all make it other side just fine. I can guarantee you though that level of ammonia would absolutely wreak havoc in an established reef. I can also guarantee you I could take those same survivors pump my ammonia up and there is no guarantee they make it through it again, that is not how life works.

Boldly stating that since X survived, but Y died, where X is more sensitive than Y, the cause could not be ammonia is silly.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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not factoring TAN conversions applies too, understandable bungle so we also don't know if your just-stated ammonia levels were accurate.

I collect Red Sea misreads too, half from the prior examples are red sea kits... that's not a total upgrade in reliability for the claim but its at least something to add to api data, glad to know.

we benchmark red sea and api readings against seneye, they dont always agree so it seems fair to at least consider times non seneye testing was found to cause big errors.







This is why I mentioned that having examples that solely revolve around your own reef vs links


you are posting a reasonable possibility agreed but we don't get to see it happening on the digital tanks or in work threads. cant wait to see how it plays out.
 
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reefinatl

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To clarify, that's your tanks water, right?
Yes, just pointing out the absurdity of claiming what organisms can and cannot survive ammonia spikes as denial of its presence. A large and varied numbered of inverts rode that wave.

Best of luck to @allsite it's unfortunate how quickly things can go sideways in this hobby.
 
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